Report Card Grades for Byron Scott’s Job as Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach so Far

With the Los Angeles Lakers on track to lose even more games than last year, it seems an apt time to hand out some midterm grades for their latest head coach, Byron Scott.

The former Showtime shooting guard and one-time Coach of the Year (New Orleans Hornets, 2008) was welcomed back to Lakerland on a tide of nostalgia and good intentions—he would be the anti-Mike D’Antoni and bring a defensive mindset as well as a long relationship with aging superstar Kobe Bryant.

How has it all worked out so far? Bryant’s swan song tour has been a bumpy ride, but there are nights when he turns back the clock—like Thursday against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bryant had 19 points and a career-high 17 assists for one of his most complete games in recent history, despite the Lakers’ eventual 109-102 loss.

As for the Purple and Gold at large, their season has mostly become an audition for the future.


Managing the Prime Asset: D+

Scott’s wrongheaded choices began in training camp when he ran the entire roster into the ground, beginning with a willing Bryant who was eager to push the pedal to the metal after missing most of the prior season with a fractured knee.

Next came the pursuit and capture of Michael Jordan’s third-place spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, accompanied by weeks of being this season’s scoring leader. Scott acknowledged the need to save Bryant’s legs before the season even began, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (per “I have to be real smart that I stick to my guns as far as minutes are concerned even if it costs us a game or two.”

But the Mamba averaged 37 minutes per game through November and was playing 40-minute games as recently as mid-December. Not long after, his body went into a state of aching, tired rebellion. He ...

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